Last year, climate change activist and TIME’s “Person of the Year” promised to embark on a landmark journey across the Atlantic in a completely carbon-neutral yacht.
But now, an expert sailor from Spain believes that not only was the trip impossible for such a small vessel without fossil fuel, but that Thunberg’s team would have had to burn more diesel fuel than a commercial airplane in order to make the two-week journey.
Here’s what he says, translated from Spanish, according to ABC.es:
“Anyone who knows some navigation knows that catamarans cannot sail against the wind and only do so if they are fed by carrying winds, that is, fin or stern . To cross the Atlantic at this time of year the prevailing winds are from the east, that is to say that the catamaran would be found in the bow.
“To save them, he should have headed north on a board that would put him far north of the British Isles so he could turn starboard (right) and head towards the coast of Galicia. November and December, as it has been shown, are two months of great swells in the North Atlantic, which together with the gulf currents is a great effort for fishing and oil tankers that are going to motor…
“… This navigation on this type of boat does not last three weeks, that surely does not. For the course that has marked the catamaran’s logbook this navigation was not done, but the north was avoided by the storms and the arrival in Galicia was rejected by changing it to Lisbon. This means that the Australian catamaran Riley Whitelum and Elayna Carausu is either extraterrestrial or has been sailing with its two engines.
“Volvo consuming more or less four liters of diesel per hour each of the engines, which with the bad conditions with which they say they found consumption may have been, more or less twice, that is about 16 liters of diesel time. How much have they spent? Who knows. How much have they contaminated? Much more than if I had flown from New York to Madrid in a commercial plane.”
That last line is a real bruiser.
Thunberg’s team and skipper have yet to respond to this report — we will keep you updated.